Thanksgiving week offers great opportunities at our farmers markets, with Wednesday markets bigger and busier than at almost any other time and a few changes after the holiday.
Markets open today include the <strong>Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market</strong> (50 Mark West Springs Road), open from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and the <strong>Santa Rosa Community Farmers Market</strong> (formerly Redwood Empire Farmers Market, 1351 Maple Ave.), open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Expect crowds, and if you're searching from something specific — eggs, for example — arrive early. Most of our local pastured hens are undergoing their seasonal molt, and egg production is way down. Because of large-scale operations, it is easy to forget that eggs actually have a season, but they do; production picks up after the winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen.
You'll find an abundance of pumpkins and winter squashes, sturdy winter greens, Brussels sprouts still on the stalk, the last of the year's tomatoes and peppers, salad greens, citrus fruits, pomegranates, persimmons, quince and all manner of meats, including a few turkeys.
There are plenty of prepared foods, too, including condiments that can be used to baste a turkey or ham.
Highlights at the Santa Rosa Original market include Min-Hee Hill Farm's and Beet Generation Farm's new batches of ground chiles; Salmon Creek Ranch's whole duck, boneless duck breast, leg-thighs, gizzards, feet, wings, backs and fat, along with all manner of goat and delicious aged grass-fed beef and Dominique's Sweets' fabulous pies.
Highlights at the Santa Rosa Community Market include fresh Dungeness crab, meat and poultry from Victorian Farmstead and beautiful flowers (and plenty of fresh produce) from Ortiz Farms.
You might want to check your carving knives and bring them to the market to be sharpened while you shop.
On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, there will be no <strong>Sonoma Valley Farmers Market</strong>. It will return the following Friday and continue year round.
The <strong>Oakmont Certified Farmers Market</strong> takes place as usual on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at 6585 Oakmont Drive in east Santa Rosa. JS Orchards will attend this week with their extraordinary apple juice, offering one of your last chances to get the 2013 vintage. They will run out in another week or so.
Saturday is the final <strong>Healdsburg Farmers Market</strong> of the year and is a big day for arts and crafts vendors to participate.
The market takes place from 9 a.m. to noon one block west of the town plaza, at North and Vine streets. It is a sweet place to shop for holiday gifts, as well as for almost everything you need to feed your family, including local olive oil.
Sunday marks a month-long shift for the <strong>Sebastopol Farmers Market</strong>. When the market went year round a couple of years ago, it made an agreement with the local merchants to leave the parking lot available to shoppers throughout December. This means all the vendors are in the plaza itself, where there is less space.
Although it is inconvenient — vendors must unload and move their vehicles, rather than have them behind their stalls — and there are fewer vendors, there's a lovely intimacy about the December market, too. There is no reason not to attend.
<em>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</em>